Under threat of ban, Twitter has begun removing content prohibited in Russia – but Moscow says social network is acting too slowly

US social media giant Twitter has begun to remove banned content after Russia’s state regulator Roskomnadzor threatened to block it altogether. The agency has demanded that the California-based site delete more than 3,000 posts.

However, Roskomnadzor believes Twitter’s rate of removal “remains unsatisfactory,” with two-thirds of all demands still being ignored.

Two weeks ago, Russia began to throttle Twitter’s speed, adopting the measure after the social network dismissed requests from Moscow to remove the specified content, including child pornography and material advertising the use of drugs.

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“Roskomnadzor reported that, after the adoption of measures to slow Twitter traffic on March 10, 2021, the social network began work on removing content banned in Russia, but only one-third,” a statement from the regulator said. “The rate at which the social network deletes banned information is unsatisfactory.“

“We regret that only the use of technical enforcement measures to enforce Russian laws forced the American social network to recognize the existence of information that is absolutely evil in all countries of the world, and to take measures to remove it.”

According to the body, 28,000 requests to delete 3,100 posts have been sent since 2017.

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On March 16, the deputy head of Roskomnadzor Vadim Subbotin revealed that Twitter would be blocked entirely in Russia if it does not start to comply with the demands.

“Twitter is not responding satisfactorily to our requests – if things go on as they have been – then in a month, it will be blocked without the need for a court order,” he told Interfax news agency.

Other social networks were also put on notice, with Senator Alexander Bashkin noting that it should “act as a wake-up call for YouTube and other networks that make gains at the expense of law and order in Russia.”

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that social media is being used “to promote completely unacceptable content,” specifically naming child pornography and prostitution, and calling for tough action against those who “try to take advantage of children in cold blood.”

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